The interviewer wants to hear that you have realistic career progression expectations within Costco. Tell the interviewer that you are excited about joining the team at Costco, and you anticipate that you will likely be in the same job in two years that you are hired for. If a promotion or another opportunity is available before then, that is great! But, you recognize that it takes time for developments and internal job changes to occur, so in two years, there is a good chance you will still be in the same job title, and that is okay with you! Be sure to mention that your goal is to learn as much as you can, so when the opportunity arises, you can be promoted. If you are a student, tell the interviewer that you plan to stay at Costco through graduation in the role that you are hired into, and then share what career or further education you hope to be pursuing following graduation. If Costco offers jobs in your field, such as management, be sure to mention that you would be open to considering a career in your area at Costco if one is available upon graduation.
"In two years I would like to be on track for a promotion to assistant manager. I realize that a move like that takes time and dedication; both of which I am more than willing to contribute."
The interviewer at Costco would like to know which tasks you tend to leave for last. Often we will move the tasks that we don't want for last in the act of procrastination. Other times, we will mindfully leave a specific responsibility for last because we feel that it makes the most sense. Help the interviewer to determine which personality type you are by answering this question.
"I am not a procrastinator; however, I would push the store cleaning to the end of the day if it were possible. It feels better to leave the store in pristine condition!"
We all have different things that motivate us. Goals drive some of us. Some of us are excited by having someone we look up to, who mentors us. Some of us are motivated by great leadership. Think about your life; what has been your primary motivator? Staying away from answers that involve money is always a good idea. Simply share, with the interviewer, what drives you to excel and achieve.
"I was always raised to have an excellent work ethic which means that I work hard, every day. I show up when I am expected, and I give my all to my employer. I especially like to work hard for my customers, making them feel special and cared for when they are in my store."
Talking about a time when you calmed an upset customer can be an excellent example for this question. Be ready to talk about the time you went above and beyond with handling a customer complaint. Explain how you listened to every word the customer had to say. Next, describe how you apologized to the customer with a calm voice and sincere heart. Finally, be sure to tell the interviewer what solution you offered the customer. Perhaps you did not charge them for a meal if it was in a restaurant. Maybe you offered a new dish for them to try. Be sure to close with how happy the customer was when they left!
"In my current job, at the athletic store, I often have customers who are just starting to get into an active and healthy lifestyle. I will ask them discovery questions regarding their goals, their level of activity, any previous injuries, and more - so that I can properly fit them into the right athletic footwear. During the conversation, I will often mention resources they may like, such as recipe or fitness apps and websites. I want my customers always to feel like they received some added value."
When it comes to complex problem solving, decisions are not always readily reached. It takes practice, experience, and confidence to learn what sorts of decisions yield the best results. Walk the interviewer through your process when it comes to making quick decisions. Do you rely on past experiences? Perhaps you go with a gut feeling. Maybe you have read case studies that you lean on in these instances. Problems that require you to act quickly can be emergency situations such as knowing where the fire extinguisher is and grabbing it fast enough to put out a small grease fire in the company kitchen. Other quick decisions could be if you are asked to take on a new responsibility and are only given five minutes to decide if it's something you are prepared to take on. Going with your gut is a skill, and the more you learn to trust your intuition, the easier it becomes to make these types of decisions. Demonstrate that you are confident and able to react swiftly, should the need arise while working at Costco.
"I thrive under pressure and always have, so when I'm given a time-sensitive situation to address, I light up and get down to business. I am more impactful and even more creative when I have little time to do much besides jump in and take charge. This ability to make fast decisions is especially helpful in my role as manager when there is an inventory, personnel, or customer issue."
The interviewer wants to know that you can be diplomatic in the workplace, even when you may not agree with your leader. Show the interviewer that it is possible for you to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader from time to time. Explain that you believe everyone is entitled to their own professional opinion, yet capable of maintaining respect for each other at the same time. Show that even if you disagree with the final decision they make, you support the direction the team is heading.
"I do wish to work with a leader with whom I agree most of the time. This agreeance doesn't have to be all of the time, but I do work best with leaders whom I understand and can communicate with effectively."
Think about what you like best about retail environments, and be ready to list 3-4 things that make a retail environment perfect. You might share things like: - Bright lights - Uncluttered wide aisles - Fun merchandise - A welcoming staff Whatever it is that you like about the retail environment at Costco, be ready to share it with the interviewer!
"I love the work environment at Costco because everything is easy to find, and the variety is great. The music you play is enjoyable as well. Your staff is welcoming, and I always find something unique."
Addressing customer complaints is an essential part of customer service, and the interviewer wants to hear that you are okay talking through a customer's complaint. Tell the interviewer that you do not mind addressing customer complaints, and you recognize that most customers have good intentions when coming forth with an issue. Tell the interviewer that you take time to listen to everything the customer has to say first to ensure you truly understand what they are upset about. Next, share that you make eye contact with the customer and sincerely apologize to them. Finally, be sure to mention that you offer to correct any mistakes that were made or take the appropriate action to rectify the situation.
"I would rate myself as an 8/10 when it comes to my customer complaint management skills. I have worked in a retail environment for a few years where these complaints are inevitable; however, I am also interested in learning the Costco way when it comes to handling customer complaints."
The interviewer wants to know that you can think outside the box, or even ask for help when you are stuck on a complicated problem. Maybe you look to a mentor or boss for advice. Perhaps you have handbooks, manuals and systems you turn to for help. Offer some relevant examples based on your industry. If you work in the medical field, you may turn to textbooks, online research, colleagues or even patient's history to find the right solution. If you work in customer service, you may ask the customer what they need to find the best way to solve the problem. Show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable and equipped to handle these types of scenarios.
"When faced with a complicated problem, I will look to the resources that my current company has provided me. The answer is almost always in there. If it's more of a moral dilemma vs. a knowledge-based dilemma, I will ask my supervisor for his thoughts and opinion since I value him as a mentor and expert in our industry."
The interviewer wants to learn more about your background and experience. If you don't have any experience, it's okay! Tell the interviewer that you do not have any experience in the industry, and you look forward to making the transition and learning everything there is to know! You can rely on your volunteer work, if you have any, and discuss the parallels to retail such as being customer facing or providing a valuable service. If you have experience in retail, share where you have worked, your job title, and how long you were employed there. Add a sentence or two about what your job duties were in each role as well. Be sure to mention that you really enjoy this industry, and you look forward to continuing to work in retail industry roles. Also, refer to any key achievements.
"I have worked in a retail environment for the past three years, often being voted as the employee of the month. I have some training in inventory management, customer service, and dispute resolution. I look forward to furthering retail training with Costco."
Pick weaknesses that are not a core skill for this position. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness. Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!
"Everyone has weaknesses. I tend to be too nice sometimes. When vendors are not fulfilling their requirements, I tend to believe there must be a logical and understandable reason. I have to remind myself that we are paying for a service and they must meet our expectations."
The interviewer wants to hear that your references will positively describe you. Think about the positive things your references have said about you in the past. Be specific about what each reference may say about you by including an example of when you made an impact on their lives. For instance, you might say, "My reference, John Smith, has told me that I am a hard worker, and he has told me that he likes how I am always happy to be at work!" These concrete examples will be sure to impress the interviewer!
"My reference, John Smith, has told me that I am a hard worker, and he has told me that he likes how I am always happy to be at work!"
Which personal strengths make you excellent at your job? Strengths can be skills or qualities that help you overcome difficult circumstances or accomplish challenging tasks. In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand client needs, and help you to apply what you have learned in your training. Talk to the interviewer about a couple of your strengths and why those will help you to be successful in this role. If you can tie your strengths into the qualities mentioned in the job posting, even better! Some great strengths to mention are: - Communicative - Loyal - Collaborative - Tech Savvy - Flexible in Schedule/Availability - Persistent and Determined - Eager for Knowledge/New Skills
"My strongest skills that help me on a daily basis are my people-skills, and the ability to close a sale without being pushy. I relate to the customer, get to know them and their needs, build excellent rapport and can make solid recommendations that suit them. They buy, return, and repeat. And it is something I enjoy a lot. I love to see my regulars, hear about their lives, help them look and feel their best!"
The interviewer would like to know if you have a personal motto or mantra. Not everyone has a mission statement or personal mantra just off the cuff. In business, especially when entering leadership, this is an important question to ponder. Do you have a quote that inspires you or a saying that you grew up with that resonates with you?
"My mission statement is to love myself first, stick up for others, and make the world a better place than it was when I arrived here. I am big on mindfulness, and this mental shift in me has made me a better person."
The interviewer would like to hear about a time that you led a team, with a positive outcome. Showcase for the interviewer the primary factors that made your leadership style a success. Your example could come from the workplace or perhaps a time when you led a group project during your post-secondary studies. Be sure to tie in how your leadership skills will benefit the team at Costco.
"Just last month I was asked to lead our day shift employees when my boss was away on sick leave. I took charge for two weeks, and the experience was quite positive! I believe the biggest success factor was that I tried to emulate his leadership style and did ask his help when I wasn't sure what to do. I feel this experience prepared me for a leadership role. I am excited to take on a team lead role again."
Tell the interviewer that excellent member service is having a positive attitude and doing what it takes to ensure the customer comes back to your store. You might share that you think excellent customer service means having a smile on your face, saying please & thank you, and providing a great experience for the member.
"To me, great member service means that my customers are happier when they leave than when they initially arrived. I want every Costco member to feel like they received their money's worth from their membership commitment. This contentment should come from excellent service and variety in new products."
Start off by telling the interviewer that you know Costco cares about its employees, and they like to ensure their staff is respected. Be sure to mention that you know Costco supports workplace equality for its employees, and they are focused on workplace ethics and obeying the law. Costco's website will also tell you that they are "a fast-paced team environment filled with challenges and opportunities." These are all great things to share with the interviewer!
"a fast-paced team environment filled with challenges and opportunities."
The interviewer hopes to hear that you will stay with the company long-term. If you are a student, tell the interviewer that you plan to stay at Costco through graduation, and then share what career or further education you hope to be pursuing following graduation. If Costco offers jobs in your field, such as management, be sure to mention that you would be open to considering a career in your area at Costco if one is available upon graduating. If you are not a student, no problem! Simply share that you see yourself working at Costco long-term, and share if you desire to be promoted at some point in your career along with what promotion you might be interested in. You might say something like, "I see myself working at Costco long-term. I would like to start out as a Cashier, and I hope to be promoted to a management position within the next 5-10 years."
"I see myself working at Costco long-term. I would like to start out as a Cashier, and I hope to be promoted to a management position within the next 5-10 years."
If you are applying for a job in a Costco store, then your answer should be very receptive to this type of task! The interviewer wants to hear that you are comfortable conversing with other people. As a customer service person, you are definitely a sociable person. Explain to the interviewer that you enjoy getting to know your co-workers, work hard to build relationships with your regular customers through simple interactions, and look forward coming to work each day in customer service. You might work best in a large group setting, or one-on-one interactions might be your thing. Either way, you are a sociable person, and you are okay promoting products to members.
"I think it would be great fun to converse with Costco members, encouraging them to try new products. I also think it would be enjoyable to gather feedback and thoughts on the customers' reactions to new products."
The interviewer wants to learn more about who you are, at the core. Think about the one thing that people repeatedly commend you for; this is your answer to this question! If you are not sure of what to mention, you can take a free personality test, like 16personalities.com and comb through your results for ideas.
"I have been told that my best trait is my ability to relate to people. My co-workers often mention that they really admire this trait. I can strike up a meaningful conversation with nearly anyone."
If you have a gap in your employment history, be prepared to discuss what you have been doing during this time. The interviewer needs to hear that you have been doing something productive with your time. You might share how you have been spending your days searching for jobs. Perhaps you have been caring for a loved one who is ill. Maybe you have been lucky enough to take a European vacation. Or, perhaps you have been furthering your education. Just share with the interviewer how you have been productive with your time.
"I have been out of work for the past three months; however, I have not been stagnant. I took a trip to Italy to see family and have been doing a significant amount of community outreach work to fill my time while I look for that perfect position."
The interviewer wants to hear about a positive experience you have had with leadership. Think about a time when you led a sports team, led a college project, managed a store, or coached a little league team. These are all great examples! Talk about your desire to be a leader with Costco in the future. Share with the interviewer that you strive to be a role model for others. Explain that you jump at the opportunity to lead groups, encourage your counterparts, and be a face of the organization when challenges arise.
"In my current position, I am the president of the social committee. I love that I have the opportunity to encourage employee engagement while being a positive influence on the workplace culture. I am a natural leader because I start with leading by example. As a leader, I make myself available to others who need mentor-ship, a bit of assistance in adjusting to their role, or just a listening ear when they've had a tough day. I am confident in my leadership abilities and look forward to joining your team in a leadership role."
The interviewer would like to know how you would react if put in an awkward, or potentially harmful situation like being asked by a co-worker to steal with them. Theft can occur in many ways in the workplace and is not necessarily reserved to blatantly taking a product. Ensure that you are aware of the different ways a co-worker may try to pass stealing off as 'no big deal.' - Timecard fabrication, also known as "buddy punching" where you punch in for a coworker who is not present - 'Borrowing' money from the cash register - Falsifying vendor or expense accounts - Taking items from the lost and found - Stealing data or documents containing trade secrets - Taking expensive office supplies like ink, or adding personal items to supply orders - Billing hours to clients that they did not work Of course, you already know how to answer this question! Express that you would never engage in this type of behavior and discuss how you would go about reporting this type of situation. If this has happened to you in the past, you can talk about the case.
As with any job interview, we recommend visiting the company website before arriving to learn what opportunities exist. You might be interested in an office job if a Costco office is located near you. You might be interested in becoming a Cake Decorator, a Cashier, a Meat Cutter, a Pharmacy Manager, a Stocker, or a Tire Installer to name a few! Just visit the website before arriving at your interview, and be prepared for one role that you specifically have your eye on. Be sure to mention the position that you specifically applied to on the company website as well.
"I truly am willing to start anywhere, to show you that I am a valuable member of the Costco team. With that said, my biggest interest is in the bakery. I love baking and cake decorating. I often take custom orders from my family and friends, just for fun!"
The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate about working at Costco and have thought about how you can make a positive impact while working there. Think about what kind of impact you could make. Possible things that might come to mind are: - Creating a favorable environment for members by smiling, asking them if you can help them find something, and providing them with excellent service. - Building business relationships with your co-workers, so everyone looks forward to coming to work each day. - By helping ensure a place that provides solutions for birthday gifts, wedding gifts, baby gifts, home decor, and all the other fun things we look forward to shopping for! Whatever comes to mind that you are passionate about, share it with the interviewer!
"I expect to make a difference at Costco by being a team member who encourages a high-performance, positive workplace mindset. I want to ensure that the customers at this location are always happy to be here and that they find what they need."
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site! Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this position filled? - How long has this role been vacant? - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role? - What is your favorite part about working here? - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years? - Is there any reason why you would not hire me?
"I would like to ask if there is anything in my background on which you need clarification? Also, after discussing everything today, is there any particular reason why I would not be the best fit for this executive assistant role?"
Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) operates membership warehouses that offer its members low prices on a limited selection of branded and selected private-label products in a range of merchandise categories. It buys the majority of its merchandise directly from manufacturers and route it to a cross-docking consolidation point (depot) or directly to its warehouses. The Company's depots receive container-based shipments from manufacturers and reallocate these goods for shipment to its individual warehouses. The Company's warehouse format averages approximately 143,000 square feet. Its warehouses operate on a seven-day, 69-hour week. It carries an average of approximately 3,800 active stock keeping units (SKUs) per warehouse in its core warehouse business. Many consumable products are offered for sale in case, carton or multiple-pack quantities only.